MicroRNAs: a novel class of potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular diseases

Zhen-wei Pan, Yan-jie Lu, Bao-feng Yang
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2009.175


Currently, cardiovascular diseases remain one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, indicating the need for innovative therapies and diagnosis for heart disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently emerged as one of the central players in regulating gene expression. Numerous studies have documented the implications of miRNAs in nearly every pathological process of the cardiovascular system, including cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, cardiac fibrosis, cardiac ischemia and vascular atherosclerosis. More surprisingly, forced expression or suppression of a single miRNA is enough to cause or alleviate the pathological alteration, underscoring the therapeutic potential of miRNAs in cardiovascular diseases. In this review we summarize the key miRNAs that can solely modulate the cardiovascular pathological process and discuss the mechanisms by which they exert their function and the perspective of these miRNAs as novel therapeutic targets and/or diagnostic markers. In addition, current approaches for manipulating the action of miRNAs will be introduced.

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